March 06, 2024

Learning The Skills

By Elizabeth Hasen
Learning The Skills

There came a time some years ago when I was tired of wasting headpin after headpin because I couldn't make two equal-sized, nice-looking loops in a row.  A headpin goes through a bead from bottom to top.  Then you loop the wire (and I like to wrap it so the loop will never pull out.)  You have to make two equal loops if you want your pair of earrings to match well.

But I couldn't do it. I looked at explanation after explanation, watched online videos etc etc etc.  There were a thousand different ways to make a loop.  Finally I decided it didn't matter how others did it -- I needed to find the way that I could do it.

So I took a lot of copper wire (the cheapest) and spent three days just making loops.   And at the end, I had figured out my personal method, and I've never worried about doing it since.

Reminds me of an old saying I learned in divinity school:  "Pray as you can, not as you can't."

In art, as in other things, it is all too easy to compare ourselves to others.  I often look with amazement at other makers' jewelry and think "I couldn't do that in a million years!"  Anything to do with metal-smithing using scary tools(!) -- or intricately wire-wrapping pendants -- or anything remotely related to weaving minuscule seed beads into complex patterns -- nope.  Not in my repertoire.

But exploring new things which I might be able to do (like alcohol inks!), finding I can do them, and trying to improve my skills as I do -- that is a part of the art journey I'm on right now.

Is there something in your life where you are enjoying "doing what you can" and learning to do it better?


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